Pitching, Pitching, Pitching and Payroll
I mean, what else could they do? They already got Placido Polanco to be their third baseman. They got their backup catcher and utility infielder. Other than pitching help the only thing they need is their last bench player, and Ruben Amaro Jr. said yesterday they could fill that role internally. John Mayberry Jr. played well in Winter Ball in Mexico. He could be a possibility. The Phillies also signed DeWayne Wise and Wilson Valdez to Minor League contracts with invitations to spring training. I’m sure they’ll get looks, although Valdez doesn’t have much outfield experience.
The Phillies have some holes to fill in their bullpen. They also could use a litttle more depth for the rotation. But the bullpen comes first.
“If we could add some depth to the back end of our bullpen that would be great,” Amaro said. “If not, then … we’ll bring some kids in to try to do that. Hopefully we’ll have some candidates to do that in spring training. But our druthers is to try someone who can help us in the back end.”
The Phillies have Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson and J.C. Romero, who is coming off elbow surgery, signed next season. Chad Durbin and Clay Condrey are arbitration eligible, so unless the Phillies decide to non-tender them Dec. 12, they will be back.
The Phillies continue to talk with Chan Ho Park and Scott Eyre, although Amaro could not say if he is optimistic or not. There are indications the Phillies are not interested in J.J. Putz, who missed most of last season with an elbow injury. Fernando Rodney has been been mentioned previously, but he could be out of the Phillies’ price range. ESPN.com reports that the Phillies have made Brandon Lyon a priority.
Let’s take a look at the Phillies’ 2010 payroll to this point:
- Juan Castro ($700,000)
- Greg Dobbs ($1.35 million).
- Cole Hamels ($6.65 million).
- Ryan Howard ($19 million).
- Cliff Lee ($9 million).
- Brad Lidge ($11.5 million).
- Ryan Madson ($4.5 million).
- Jamie Moyer ($8.75 million).
- Placido Polanco ($5.5 million).
- Jimmy Rollins ($8.5 million).
- J.C. Romero ($4 million).
- Brian Schneider ($1.25 million)
- Chase Utley ($15 million).
- Jayson Werth ($7 million).
- Raul Ibanez ($11.5 million).
They have $114.2 million committed to 15 players. That does not include raises for Joe Blanton ($5.475 million last season), Shane Victorino ($3.125 million) and Carlos Ruiz ($475,000), who are salary arbitration eligible. If Durbin ($1.635 million) and Condrey ($650,000) return they also will receive raises. Park made $2.5 million last season. Eyre made $2 million.
Just figuring in the 2009 salaries for those seven players would put the 2010 payroll at $130.06 million. So I think it’s safe to say the 2010 payroll is pushing $140 million. It sounds like that is about the Phillies’ budget, although nobody will say. That is why I think it might be tough to sign somebody like Rodney for the bullpen, and why Amaro said they might have to count on some youngsters to help, if they can’t get the people they want like Park and Eyre. Of course, just when I think I have a pretty good feel for things the Phillies do something unexpected. And unexpected things can happen at the Winter Meetings.